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Understeer Versus Oversteer: Know Your Limits

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Understeer Versus Oversteer: Know Your Limits Understeer Versus Oversteer: Know Your Limits

Understeer Versus Oversteer: Know Your Limits

The handling terms oversteer and understeer we instinctively know, even if we’ve never really put a name to them. You don’t have to be a dyed-in-the-wool track person to have experienced either of these conditions, but they do appear most readily at a track. There are two old jokes about oversteer and understeer. One goes like this: oversteer scares the passenger and understeer scares the driver. The second is this: oversteer is when you smash the rear of the car into something – understeer is when you smash the front into something.
Differing Definitions
Understeer and oversteer are actually technical terms, but there are other words that are synonymous with both. Understeer is often called “push” and sometimes referred to as “plow” or “plowing.” You will often hear phrases like, “I’ve got a wicked push entering turn 3,” or “the car just understeers through the whole back section of the track.” Oversteer is referred to as a car being “loose,” “free,” and/or “tail-happy.” As in, “I’ve got so much oversteer through turn 5, the car is really loose.” Generally speaking, understeer is about how the front is not working and oversteer is about how the rear is not working.
Understeer is when a car corners less than what you are telling it to with the steering wheel. When a car is understeering, as you enter a corner, you turn the wheel, and you expect the car to turn into that corner, but rather than turning all the way into and through the corner, it actually does not turn in enough. Rather than cornering smoothly through a curve, your car heads more and more toward the outside of the corner, unless you do something about it. Most people respond to a situation like this by turning the wheel more; to essentially say, in mechanical terms, “No! I want you to be over there! Go over there! Go that way!” They turn the steering wheel more and more in the direction they want to go.
Unlikely Odds
90% of the time, this doesn’t work. 90% of the time you are understeering through a corner because you have entered the corner too fast. So fast, in fact, that the front wheels, which is where understeer comes from, become overwhelmed by your forward energy and cannot generate enough grip to give you cornering entry. Turning the steering wheel more and fighting with the car only makes understeer worse. It puts more and more energy into the front tires that have been unable to keep up with your forward momentum from the beginning. By and large, the best thing to do in a vast majority of understeer situations is to back off the throttle. You’re going too fast into the corner already, so slow down, get the car back underneath you, and then get back on the throttle.
TrackDays has this excellent resource on how to correct understeer, should you find yourself in that situation.
Oversteer is w...
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Understeer Versus Oversteer: Know Your Limits Understeer Versus Oversteer: Know Your Limits


Source of news: automoblog
Source of publication: 29-07-2017 21:35
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